Philosophy Word of the Day – Deconstruction

Jacques Derrida
Image by Ben Oswest via Flickr

Interpretive method that denies the priority or privilege of any single reading of a text (even if guided by the intentions of its author) and tries to show that the text is incoherent because its own key terms can be understood only in relation to their suppressed opposites.

Deconstructionists like Derrida seek to uncover the internal conflicts that tend to undermine (or at least to “decenter”) the putative significance of any text. In ordinary language, for example, someone who says, “If I may be perfectly candid for a moment, . . .” thereby betrays a reluctance—at least in the past and, probably, even in the present case—to do so, and this difference points toward a systematic ambiguity in the very notions of honesty and truth.

(Via Philosophical Dictionary)

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